Archive for March, 2007

5 Tips to Get the Most For Your Money At A Restaurant

Posted on March 7, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Sorry about yesterday, I was caught up and I didn’t have time to post anything last night. So anyways, lets get to today’s tips-  How to Get the Most For Your Money At A Restaurant

 1. Coupons.

 Yes, I know it sounds cheesy but use coupons. I’m not telling to be stupid and use it on a first date. Unless your date likes it, which in that case he / she is a keeper. You can find coupons in newspapers, magazines, mailers. If you subscribe to the entertainment coupon books (do a google search for it) its also a good deal. Its usually buy one, get one free. The reasons restaurants give out these coupons is because it’s something called a loss leader. By giving you a coupon, they hope that you’ll spend more money at the restaurant (e.g. ordering drinks, desserts, etc.)

Btw: restaurant.com sells $25 gift certificates for $10. There are some restrictions on time (time of use, etc.) but they are a pretty good deal as well.

 2. Don’t go to a bad restaurant

This sounds like a stupid tip, but a lot of people do it more than you think. Make sure you read up on reviews or ask around to see if its actually worth going to. Even if you have a coupon for the restaurant, its not worth going to if all you’re going to get is two crappy entrees for the price of one.

One rule of thumb is the restaurant is good if the people inside match the cuisine (e.g. Spanish restaurant with Spanish people inside= good. Chinese restaurant with only white people inside= stay away.)

3. Don’t order dessert / drinks

The two places where restaurants make the most profit (and you get the least value) are desserts and drinks (especially alcoholic). Why do you have to pay $2.50 for a diet coke when you can get the same soda at the bodega across the street for 50 cents. Desserts are also where restaurants milk you. The majority of desserts served at restaurants are not made at the restaurant. The $5.95 cheesecake you just ordered is the same one they sell at the supermarket.

There are some exceptions to the rule. If the house has a specialty drink or a dessert they are known for then go for it. In this case you shouldn’t let money stop you from enjoying a new experience. Or if the place has really cheap drinks ($1.50 beers at Kenka’s on St. Marks) then go get stupid drunk. In other cases, just stick to water (tap water). If you order the sparkling evian I’ll slap you in the face.

 4. Try new things.

If you go with a group of people, everyone usually will end up ordering something different on the menu. Don’t be shy and offer to share your food with everyone. That way, you can end up trying a little bit of everyone else’s as well. If your group is sufficiently big, you get to try half the menu for the price of one entre! This is good if everyone are friends. This is bad if anyone has herpes.

 5. Pay with your credit card

Check if your credit card gives rewards for dining out. Various frequent flyer programs give out miles for dining at certain restaurants (Delta Skymiles and UA Mileage Plus do it for sure). Just make sure you register beforehand on the website. Some restaurants offer up to 10 miles for each dollar spend.

lso, if you are with a group of friends and they all pay cash, collect the money and pay with your credit card. Not only do you get more miles this way, but this also saves you a trip to the ATM (and possibly save you the $1.50 surcharge!)

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Top 5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Cell Phone Plan

Posted on March 2, 2007. Filed under: cell phone, tips |

Below are my top 5 tips that you can use to get the most out of your cell phone plan. Some tips may not apply depending on where you live (some carriers have horrible service in certain locations)

1. Switch carriers every year

When you are new customer and sign up for a cell phone plan with a provider they always give you those sweet incentives. The newest phones are free, you get extra minutes, etc. This is because each provider spends upwards of $300 to acquire each new customer (advertising, rebates to cell phone stores). But when they already have you as a customer, there are very little incentives to keep you as a customer. Thanks to number portability, you can change your cell phone provider, keep your number, and get a sweet new phone every year!

Make sure you do not get locked in a two year contract! They might give you a better deal but it don’t be worth it in the long run. Two years is a long time; new phones and new plans come out all the time.

2. Make money by getting a new phone

Go on Amazon.com to the wireless section. Some of the phones they offer actually earn you money (after rebates). However, make sure you read the fine print, some carriers (Cingular) will not let you transfer phone numbers.

3. Text as little as possible

Texting in America, unlike Europe and Asia is expensive. Without a texting plan, each text is 10 cents! Although it might seem a small amount. Trust me, it adds up really quick. If possible, call the person instead.

4. Don’t renew your contract

Like I said in the first tip, cell phone carriers are much more willing to give out incentives to new customers. If you are an old customer, there not as inclined to give you the good deals. For example, Verizon only gives you a $50 credit towards a new phone if you resign for 2 years! Thats ridiculous! You can change to a new provider, get entirely free phones and only sign a one year contract.

5. Visit your local Chinatown

In my experience, the local Chinatown offers some of the best deals in cell phones. I was able to get a Sony Ericcson K800i (3.2 mega pixel camera, mp3 player, etc) for $100 with a 1 year contract with t-mobile. The reason I was able to get it so cheap is that the carriers will pay the cell phone store (around $300 for each customer) they sign up. The cell phone store then passes the saving onto you.

Whats also cool is that you are able to get phones not for sale in North America. You’re able to get your hands on the cool phones that are sold in Hong Kong and China.

I recommend going to Chinatown and browsing the cell phone stores for phones you’re interested in. And don’t forget to bargain!

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Keeping track of your expenses

Posted on March 1, 2007. Filed under: budget |

The very first tip I’m going to share is how to keep track of your expense. Although some of you might already be doing this, for the ones that aren’t doing this, this is really important.

Keeping track of your expenses gives a snapshot of how much you are spending each month / week / day. The method I use is by creating a excel spreadsheet. Under each month I create two rows, income and expense. Under income and expense,  I  further divide it into description and cost.

You can create simple formulas to see the total expenses of each month.

Protip: It is very annoying to keep track of cash expenses and updating the list on a daily basis. What I do is look at my online activity from my credit cards and copy it over every week or two weeks. And instead of writing out all my cash expense, I only record the ATM withdraws I make from the bank. Although, it is not exact as keeping a record of, I still have a good idea of how much I’m spending.

By looking at how much you are spending every month, you can get a good idea of how much you need to earn every month/year to support the lifestyle you are living.

Tommorrow, I’ll post about getting the 5 tricks you must do to get the most out of your cell phone service plan.

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Welcome to my blog

Posted on March 1, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Alright, so this is my first blog post. Let’s skip the introductions and get to it. Actually, forget what I just said. Let’s not skip the introductions. Umm.. lets see.. about me.. I am 23. I recently moved back to NY. I am pursuing a career in TV production and development.

The reason I started this blog is that I enjoy not spending money foolishly. When my friends buy new things and tell me how much they paid for it, I always feel like I could’ve gotten it for cheaper. That is why I’m here to share with you all the things I’ve learned about saving money.

Remember, the goal of this blog is not to teach you how to live like a miser and never spend money. Instead, I want to show people tricks and tips they can apply in their everyday spending life to be able to “live more (and) spend less.”

Please feel free to comment if you disagree with any of my suggestions or if you want to suggest a better idea.

Enjoy!

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